The weather is a little moody here. spells of rain and sunshine intermittently tease the soil and our choice of clothing. noses are runny and sniffly, sounds of hoarse coughing fills the air, and immune systems are taking a battering. at times like this, one word comes to mind: soup. soup to nourish mind, body and soul.
I have always been told, and read too that coughs and sniffles should be deprived of all things dairy. I am still to research where and why that is, or whether there is any truth to it. I presume dairy is mucus-inducing?. Who knows but I still like to stick to the advice given. so this soup, despite having no dairy present, is still creamy, smooth and silky. Everything you would desire from a hearty soup, whilst simultaneously fresh and summery enough to bring some sunshine in to the body and soul.
My lentil soup has sweet notes from carrots and sweet potatoes, and is delicately fragranced with saffron. A little hit from the chilli and a selection of spices decorate the palate with enough flavour to awaken your tastebuds. Turmeric, ginger and chilli are all known to boost the immune system and remedy those sniffles.
1 medium chopped red onion
1 chopped garlic clove
1 thumb-sized peeled and chopped ginger
1 cup of dry lentils (i used both red and yellow) soaked for at least 2 hours in 2 cups of water
1 large carrot peeled and chopped
1 small sweet potato peeled and chopped
half a teaspoon of pink himalayan salt, paprika, turmeric, cumin seeds and ground ginger
half a can of chopped tomatoes
1 pinch of saffron placed in 1/4 cup of boiling water
4 cups of water
After the lentils have soaked for at least two hours, drain and rinse them. Get your cooking pot ready, add a tablespoon of olive oil (ghee for non-vegan option), cook the onions until softened. Once they are clear, add the garlic and ginger. After about a minute or two, add cumin seeds and the rest of the spices + salt, stir so an almost dry paste is formed. Inhale the aroma that is filling the air. Next, add chopped sweet potato + carrots and mix it all up so they are coated in the spices.
Next, add the lentils, stir again and then add the tomatoes, saffron water (disregarding the saffron threads) and the 4 cup of waters. Bring it all to a boil, then simmer for about 20 to 30 mins.
When the carrots and sweet potatoes are soft, cooked and most of the water is absorbed, it’s time to get your blender out and combine those ingredients together. I used an immersion blender, which makes life easier because it can all be done in the pot! (Perk: less washing up!)
Garnish with chopped coriander (we used coriander from our garden), roasted crunchy chickpea ‘croutons’ and serve with lemon wedges.
Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and then dry.
Coat with olive oil, paprika, ground cumin, salt and pepper. Place in roasting tray and cook for about 25 mins. Discard any skins that may have fallen off.